The notifications – the dings and chimes and beeps and boops – the shouts, the rhythms, the alarms – the clangs and flashing lights – all of these served to keep the people from thinking too hard, to blur their focus, to mesmerize them, and after a while they forgot.
They forgot why they had considered it so important to be free. It was more important to be secure, free from the valleys, all mountaintops for them, not touched by bad things, only safe and warm and comfortable.
And the safety net, built so meticulously to help the struggling and the poor and the old and the infirm, became just a net.
And they built new prisons to house everyone who violated the new laws.
And before long they needed permission to live, to do business, to marry, to dig a hole or build a house on their own land, which was declared to be property of the state in the first place.
Still, they shouted proudly, “This is a free country!”
Yes, it was.
And they went back to the clangs and flashing lights and forgot what it was they were thinking about.